““Les Voyageurs” (The Travelers)

Bruno Catalano was a traveler and artist. Born in Morocco, he became a sailor and traveled to many places throughout his early life. The nomadic lifestyle greatly influenced his artwork, especially in the creation of “Les Voyageurs”. Catalano sculpted these surrealist pieces, “commemorating Marseille’s status as the European Capital of Culture in 2013”. The 10 sculptures sit along the waterfront challenging spectators’ interpretation of the artist’s intent. Mr. Rebmann, as with many of his students, challenged my perspective and shared an article about Catalno’s work. “Les Voyageurs” reminds me this week of our seniors, the Class of 2020. 

Our seniors have been on a tremendous journey during their 13 years in Fairbanks. Many of them walked in the door as 5-year-old kindergartners and will leave as young adults ready to change the world. They have lived through recess, learning to learn, and Mr. Lotycz’s elbow bumps in elementary school. The challenge of middle school with changing classes, navigating lockers, and discovering who they are as people. In high school, they have developed into young adults. Sports and homework. Friends and family. Service and care. These are all pieces of the Class of 2020. 

They have also endured hardship. This has been a challenging year for many of our seniors, for multiple reasons. They have endured loss in ways many adults struggle to conceive. Some have lost friends, family, and former classmates. All have lost the last quarter of their school year and many of the rites of passage that culturally represent a transition to adulthood. This part of the journey has been challenging. It has seen its share of tears and frustrations, but through it all our Class of 2020 demonstrated the care, compassion, and class that truly represents who they are. 

Our seniors have been on a journey making an indelible mark on the schools, teachers, and Fairbanks community. When looking at Catalano’s sculptures, many people see the voyagers as fragmented and not whole. I did not see it that way. Each voyager has a chance to leave a piece of themselves wherever they go. They can influence positive change and make this world a better place. So, for me, these sculptures are not fragmented. They have left pieces of themselves to make it better than when they found it. Our Class of 2020 has done that in Fairbanks. They have left a piece of themselves making our school community better than when they found it and for that I am thankful. 

Our voyagers would not have made it to the end of their Fairbanks journey without teachers, coaches, family members, and parents. They will exit our community ready to leave their mark on the world. Congratulations Class of 2020!!

  • Adham Schirg, Fairbanks Local Schools, Superintendent

PS – Big shout out to Mr. Rebmann for always challenging my thinking and pushing me to grow. I know many of our students would share the same sentiment. The article used here is listed below in a formal citation. I hope our Language Arts Department would be proud:-) 

Waldmann, ByNadine. “Not All There – The Enigmatic Sculptures of Bruno Catalano.” DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories, 20 July 2018, http://www.dailyartmagazine.com/sculptures-of-bruno-catalano/.

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